Monday, December 31, 2012

What I'm Doing About My Facebook Account

Yesterday in church I spoke about the importance of Making a Fresh Start.  Here's one of the things I am doing in my own personal life.

I don’t know about you but I’ve about had it with Facebook. For the last year I have had very limited activity on Facebook. I know that makes me an old fogey in today’s world, but Facebook has become detrimental to me (for a number of reasons). So I've decided to put some sanity back into my life by limiting my social media activity even more. No one (especially me) needs to be connected to the entire world. Life is too short for me to have that kind of electronic ball-and-chain.  Besides, I have better things to do.

I have a few personal guidelines for my Facebook account, as well as who makes it to (or stays on) my Friends list. Here are the hows and whys:

1. Facebook is a place where all the people on my “friends list” come together in “one place.” Do I really want this to happen? Think about it. Facebook is for everyone. That means my family is on Facebook, along with my closest friends, co-workers, my in-laws, a bunch of people from my past, casual acquaintances, people I knew in middle school, the guy down the street, church members, former church members, friends-of-friends-of-friends, adversaries, snoopers, trollers, gossips, loons, critics, and a colorful assortment of others. DO I REALLY WANT ALL THOSE PEOPLE TO COME TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE (on my Facebook page) and POTENTIALLY KNOW EACH OTHER THROUGH ME? No way! That's insanity.

2. The signal-to-noise ratio is ridiculously low. For all the time I have spent on Facebook, finding anything worth seeing or reading involves wading through volumes of insignificant information.  You know what I mean.  Most of it is silly, useless, or offensive.  I don’t have time for it.

3. If you are on my ‘Friends List’ it’s because I already keep track of you someplace else. If I see you at church, at work, in professional circles, or in friendship circles, you’ll probably make it to my Friends list because it means we are already talking face-to-face or by phone.

A while back I trimmed my Facebook friends list. The criteria for keeping people on my list was pretty simple (a) family, (b) friends whom I see in real life, (c) people whom I have had some type of direct contact within the last year, and, (d) I actually have some interest in maintaining a relationship with the person.

It’s time for me to do this again.

4. My relationship connectors are already full. The thing is, I’m only one dude with a limited amount of time, attention, and emotional energy.  I simply can’t maintain 632 friendships on Facebook. Can you?  I don’t believe anyone can – at least not the type of friendships I’m interested in maintaining. I have a lot of friends (the real kind), and my life is very full. I simply do not need hundreds of artificial friends on my Facebook list.

5. Facebook makes me too accessible. Through Facebook, anyone can contact me at any time about anything and for any reason. I’ve had too many personal plans ruined by the latest so-called emergency or gossip that came to my attention via Facebook.

6. Facebook makes me to too visible to the public. If I’m fishing, on a vacation, out to dinner, or on a road trip, I don’t want everyone to know what I am doing at that exact moment. I hate it when someone takes my picture and immediatley posts it on Facebook for all the world to see.  The idea of getting away is to “get away.”

7. You are being judged. All those poeple on your Facebook friends list are looking at your pictures right now.... and judging you. Do you need that? I don't.

So here’s what I’m doing:

1. I am not deactivating my Facebook account, because I will use it to post links to my blog from time to time. However I will no longer use Facebook as an “in box.”

2. I am trimming my Facebook friends list using the criteria mentioned above.

3. For those who would like to stay in contact with me, you can follow me on my blog: I will continue writing and posting pictures there.

4. Or you can invite me to have a cup of coffee sometime… like people used to do.

5. If you call me on the phone and there is no answer, you will find me in a van down by the river:  I’ve gone fishing and my cell phone is turned off

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ready to Plant

Fifteen Crepe Myrtle's headed to my property to be planted as landscaping.  I grew each of these trees from root-cuttings beginning several years ago.  If I had to buy these from the nursery at this size, it would be big bucks.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five Great Things about Being in My 50s

It’s no fun getting older.  My body has changed.  My skin shows signs of all those youthful years sunbathing (baking) in the sun.  I now see the effects of gravity; things are going south.  I have stiff joints, slower metabolism (which makes it easier to gain weight), and grey is showing at my temples.  Plus, it’s kind of a bummer to start getting mail from AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), because then you start feeling like you’re “over the hill.”

But growing older is not all bad.  In fact, it’s a privilege; a privilege that has been denied to many others.  Some people don’t get the chance to reach my age.  They die too soon.  And many of them are more deserving than the rest of us.  In light of this, I think it’s a good idea to dwell upon the privilege of growing older rather than the burden of growing older.

Although I am not officially a senior adult I am enjoying this current season of my life.  Here’s a few reasons why:

1.  I get to see my children grow up, start families of their own, and begin to mature.  I think of the men and women whose funerals I’ve conducted over the last 30 years, who will never have the privilege of walking a daughter down the isle or seeing their grandchildren.

Me, I’m in my mid-50s.  Both my sons are grown.  I've liked seeing them come into manhood.  My oldest son is married.  He and his beautiful wife have a son, which is my/our first grandchild.  This is a pure delight to me and Renae, and full of unspeakable joy.

I am grateful for this privilege and do not take it for granted.

2.  I have time to putter and work on my hobbies.  How many people do you know who complain because there are so many books they’d like to read, but don’t have time?  Well, as a 50-something-year-old, I have time.

I’m not retired, but my schedule is more flexible than it was when I was in my 20s or 30s.  This gives me time to pursue interests outside of work like fishing, gardening, and lots of reading.  I'm usually reading two or three books at a time.  There is a stack of books beside my easy chair, beside my bed, and within arms reach of the desk in my office.

I love read.  It helps me to become a deeper thinker.  I like physical labor too, outdoor work,like work in a garden.  It’s rewarding to see the fruit of my efforts.

3.  The coffee is less expensive in a lot of places.  “I’ll have the senior coffee” you say and the counter clerk knows what you mean.  You get the same coffee as everyone else, but pay about half of what they do.  Oh, and some restaurants – even fast food joints – have senior discounts.

I still too vain to use this option – but it’s good to know it’s there any time I have a “senior moment.” 

4.  I have the perfect excuse for odd behavior or unorthodox dress.  I have no problem wearing flip-flops with a pair socks nowadays.  It looks ridiculous, but I don't care.  I'm more interested in keeping my feet warm than I am impressing the neighbors.  I can wear a mis-matched shirt and pants and people just say, “He’s old.”

Another thing. I can tell somebody what I think, or tell them off, and I’m safe.  Whereas if I was younger they would want to have a fist fight, now they just walk away saying, “He’s old.”

Is that a great arrangement or what?

5.  I have a historical perspective.  I can see earthquakes around the world, or mega-storms, or tsunamis, and it doesn’t cause me to panic.  I've seen it all before.  I have seen worse.  I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy’s assignation, the Cold War (and having to get under my desk in elementary school for nuclear-attack-drills.  I remember the oil embargo during the 1970s.  I remember Vietnam, Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation, and the Six Day War in Israel that almost plunged the world into global conflict.

So when someone asks if Hurricane Katrina or this year’s tornado's are omens of the end of the world, I categorically answer, “Not hardly.”

Historical perspective is a great sedative.  And it also keeps me from getting silly with my theology.

In Conclusion – I would have finished this article with more good reasons about being a senior, but I can’t remember what they are.

Looking Ahead.....

There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right.  Its beauty and power is something to witness…. and experience!  The local church builds bridges to the lost, offers truth to the confused, opens hers arms to the forgotten, and builds up the believer.

To this day I am still amazed at the journey PCC has traveled for almost 15 years.  Thousands of stories are told by real people who have been touched by God’s love.  Each story serves as a vivid reminder of the steady kingdom impact this ministry has had.  I absolutely love everything God is doing in our lives and our church. 

Looking ahead, I could not be more excited than I am right now.  This year has come to an end, and we have finished well.  The new year is upon us and looks brighter than ever!   In a few weeks I will be sharing a vision talk of what I see in our future.  My commitment to PCC has not wavered.  I’m giving my life to this church and the mission God has given us.   After numerous late-night gut checks, I have come to complete clarity on this matter.  By God’s grace, I'm in this for the long haul, no matter what, no matter who comes or goes.  And I know many of you will continue with me on this journey.  Together we are co-laborers for a cause greater than ourselves - Christ and His Church.  Next year is going to be our greatest year ever. 

This Sunday, December 30th, my Sunday message is “How to Make a Fresh Start.” It will be a timely message for all of us. 

If you know someone who is desperate need of Christ, bring them to service with you.  This message will be especially helpful for them.

Always remember, God is more interested in your future than your past.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Mind Dump – December 23, 2012

Perhaps our greatest service ever!

The theme was Advent.

I don’t know when I have been more encouraged, edified, or flat-out enjoyed myself more than I did today at PCC.

The best part of all?  This was not a church production viewed by a room full of strangers and mere spectators. This was a worship service of friends and family who actually enjoy one-another's company as the family of God and are committed to each other through thick and thin.

We have turned a corner.  Today’s service is an indicator of things to come.

The room was packed to capacity.  We had to bring out extra chairs for seating.  There was standing room only in the back, and we literally had 3 feet or less of floor space between the front row and the stage.    

The children’s chorus was a pure delight… and the worship band hit a home-run.

We received communion at the end of service.  It was one of the most meaningful I’ve experienced in a very long time.

I will not attempt to mention all the people (by name) who helped make the day such a huge success.  But this much I can say:  Our church has some of the finest, most skilled, talented, and dedicated servants I’ve ever seen.

From start-to-finish it was apparent to see that everyone has a contribution to make to the Body of Christ.

Over the years, particularly in the last couple of years, God has sent to this church (or raised up from within us) people who possess gifts that make us whole.

See I Corinthians 12.

The level we operate at right now would not be possible if not for the people who feel ownership with their church.  They get involved with actual ‘hands on’ ministry.

PCC really does have fertile ground where people can get deeply rooted, grow up, flourish, and be fruitful.

That’s called discipleship... and it brings honor to God.

The servants who helped pull off today’s service were some of the most visible; but the are not the only ones who make PCC’s ministry possible.  There are many more people who operate behind-the-scenes whose role is just as important.  And I mean it.  Nor does it go unnoticed.

It should be apparent that PCC is not about only me, or just two or three others.  The number of other leaders is obvious.

I really enjoyed having Gene Tharp and Scott Denny assist me today in the Advent Scripture Readings.  They both did a great job.  Gonna be using them in 2013.

Phillip Polk busted it on keyboard during the offertory.  I only wish I had my camera to take his picture at that moment, but by then I was already on the stage and had left it in my chair on the front row.  Not only does he play very good, he enjoys playing – visibly so.

It was contagious.  I was ready to do cart-wheels.

Today’s service was so encouraging and uplifting.  All the components were well-done.  At some point I had the feeling that “it felt just right.”  That’s why I mentioned that point just before Communion.

It really did feel “just right.”  We put everything into today’s effort so that you could be released to be "off" and with your family for the rest of the day, for tomorrow (Christmas Eve) and Tuesday (Christmas Day).

I value family time.  I think a lot of people in the PCC congregation do too.  As long as I am the senior pastor of this church I will make it a high priority to respect and honor family time for our church members.  I will never ask people to forsake their family by asking you to commit yourself to too many church activities or services.

Yes, we could have had an month-long Christmas Musical Production running several nights a week, but it would have only left our workers completely exhausted and stressed out. 

We will always maintain margin in our church schedule, and I will go to the mat with anyone who wants to bloat our church calendar with too many activities (that compete with family time).

FOR THE RECORD:  We are a medium-sized church (which means we are able to offer more than a small church, but will never be able to offer as much as a mega-church.  Nor will we try).  PCC offers great programs, exceptional worship services, opportunities for fellowship, places to serve, insightful teaching, and environments to meet and make new friends.  There’s plenty for people to choose from.  Beyond that, you should be “self-feeders” and spend time with your family.

Sheri Ward left this comment on Facebook:  Thank you for all you do.  The service at PCC this morning was all I needed it to be and more.  I am so thankful.  It was thoughtful, joyful, and comforting today.  Merry Christmas! 

Cathy Denny said on Facebook:  Today’s Advent service was just awesome… it was great to worship in God’s House today.

Courtney Brooks said on Facebook:  So excited to see my sweet daughter on stage this morning singing, and my sweet boy is playing baby Jesus! :-)

Had a great lunch last Friday with our clean team. They get the building ready for Sunday each week.

A special shout-out to the children’s workers who serve so faithfully each Sunday; especially today.    

Next Sunday’s message:  “How to Make a Fresh Start in 2013”

A few weeks after that will be our annual State of the Church Address.

My hope for you and your family is to have a blessed Christmas this year.  Stay home as much as possible.  Spend time with your family.  Be safe when on the highways.  Be especially safe if traveling.

After Christmas, I will be very active on my blog.  I’ve been slow the past couple of weeks.  That’s over – it’s time to come out.

Nothing but good things are in our future. 

PCC is going to be busting new territory next year.


PS – Check out the pictures below.  There are a total of 13.  When you get to the bottom of the page, click the "older posts" on the bottm right corner of the page to see more. 

Two Ushers Setting Up the Communion Tables Before Service, during Pre-Service Rehersal. 
The two ushers are James Wheeles and Thomas Burch.
They are always on-the-job and take great pride in their work.

Pre-Service Rehersal (Robert Lewis and Phillip Polk)

Pre-Service Rehersal

Husband and Wife Team on Drums and Bass (Good job Christa!)

Great Attendance

Phillip Polk Opening Service
Sandra Brooks and Renee Jones leading the Children's Chorus - Great job!!

Great View

Combined Children & Adult Singers

Barely 3 feet of floor space between the front row and platform

Gene Tharp - Advent Readings

Scott Denny - Advent Readings

In the Atrium after service

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hands that Shed Innocent Blood

“These things doth the Lord hate…. hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16-17)

It’s curious that, in the wake of the shooting in Connecticut that people want to go to church, gather in community, pray, sing semi-spiritual songs, and hear pastoral words from a leader quoting Scripture.

A few nights ago, President Obama delivered a prayer-vigil speech to the citizens and shooting victims of Newton Connecticut.  You can read the full transcript here.  Below is an excerpt about children:

This is our first task: caring for our children.  It’s our first job.  If we don’t get this right, we don’t get anything right.  That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.  And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?  Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?.... Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?”

The President rightly condemns the killing of born children, yet he condones the killing of the unborn.  Our society is deeply confused when it comes to life and children.

God help us.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Charles Simeon – the Pastor Who was Locked Out of Church

Born on September 24, 1759 in England, Charles Simeon grew up in an aristocratic house and came to understand the gospel while studying at King’s College in Cambridge. He was appointed as a minister in 1783, and most of the church members decided to stay home in protest of his evangelical zeal.

If you’re a pastor, maybe you struggle with a little division, but most of us can’t imagine dealing with a congregation where most people stay home in protest.

Pew holders locked the doors to prevent visitors from entering. When he went after guests, church leaders threw their benches outside. Simeon was locked out of the building when he tried to start a Sunday night service. He was frequently heckled during church services and insulted on the street.

And you think you’ve got it rough?

But here’s what is most impressive. Simeon stayed at that church for 52 years, faithfully preaching God’s Word.

Preaching was a task he took seriously. In fact, he spent more than 7,000 hours working on a book of 500 expository outlines. They were eventually expanded and published in a book later recommended by Charles Spurgeon.

Here are two of his quotes about preaching:

·      “My endeavor is to bring out of Scripture what is there and not to trust in what I think might be there.”

·      “My aim in the style of preaching is to do it so plainly and simply that all may understand and be ready to say, ‘I could have made as good a sermon myself’.”

In 1813 he hosted “Conversation Parties” on Friday nights to answer questions from people about the spiritual life. This was seeker friendly and missional living before anyone invented the terms.

During the summer, he hosted house parties for ministers and their wives to give them an opportunity to relax and develop friendships. What a great idea! 

Simeon believed a pastor was a combination of a spiritual father, heavenly ambassador, and watchman on the wall. Look to the past and be encouraged. Great preaching, in spite of great opposition and fresh ideas to reach the community, lie in the past, not just the present.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Mind Dump - December 16, 2012

Were you at PCC today?  Holy cow!
Photo by Christa Collins

What a moving service.

The house was filled.  Lots of holiday guests from out of town.

It’s so encouraging to hear all the positive feedback we get each week, both from guests and long term members.

God is really in this thing.

Service opened with an acknowledgement of the Connecticut shooting, a time of silence for the victims, and public prayers in behalf of the community.

I changed the content of today’s sermon to address the Connecticut shooting.

Many people were asking or wondering “Where was God?”  Of course this is a complicated question, but the Word of God is always able to speak to any situation.  Some needed a theological explanation, some needed comfort, and others wanted to hear a word about justice, so I gave three responses to “Where was God.”  I think most of us came away with hope,  that no matter what, God is still in charge and is always with us.

A lot of the message revolved around Herod’s soldiers and the killing of children in Bethlehem after the birth of Christ. 

Nearly every family in Bethlehem and the surrounding villages – in a ten mile radius – suffered untold grief because of the birth of Christ.

Herod’s soldiers are the glaring gap in the nativity scenes we showcase today.  People died.  Children.  Never forget that.

I don’t know why the shootings happened.  But I do know what Jesus promised, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

I have to believe that every one of those children went straight to heaven. It’s the only thing that makes sense of this senseless situation.

Relevance:  It’s not about music, ministry methods, or hip cultural preferences.  It’s shepherding people through the things that are heavy on their hearts.  God’s Word is always applicable.

After service this morning the children practiced the songs for their presentation next Sunday morning.  It’s going to be great.

Next Sunday morning:  (1) Children’s Christmas Chorus (2) Advent Readings lead by me, Gene Tharp, and Scott Denny (3) Communion.  It’s going to be a good service.  Come with an open heart.  Invite a friend.  Bring a guest.

This Wednesday night we’re having a bonfire with the teenagers.  Parents and families are invited.

Only nine days to Christmas, then it’s the New Year.

I can’t wait to offer our Annual State of the Church Address – something I do at the beginning of each year.  It will take place about the first or second week of January.  I will be sharing with the congregation of PCC the accomplishments of 2012, the financial state of our church, and outline what I hope to see accomplished in 2013.  As always, we will be providing financial statements in January too.

Really got some things to say in this message.

When I think of our beginnings, I realize we have come a long way.  We have been through a lot and have accomplished a lot together.  Most importantly, without God’s favor none of it could have possibly happened.

From day one we have always had a clear vision and leadership structure.  Once we settled on those two things, 98% of the decisions were made.  All we had to do from there was pull the trigger and “do ministry” and make disciples.  That’s the business of the church.

I can honestly say that we have stayed true to that mission (with a few seasons of mission drift).  No wonder we have lasted almost fifteen years.

I have been in full time ministry for 25 years, beginning in lay ministry 32 years ago.  I pastored two churches prior to PCC.  In 1998 God allowed me to start this one, and I hope this is the place where I will grow old.

I love what God is doing at PCC.  I love the simplicity of it; the mission; the focus; and the people who are part of it.

In all these years I have seen God do some amazing things.  Hundreds have committed to Christ, been baptized, and discipled.  God has cleaned up addicts, restored marriages, and brought scores of young families into our midst.  On a typical Sunday at PCC you will see people from every walk of life:  black & white; people from foreign countries; interracial marriages, professionals; blue collar workers; the young and old, the poor and those making six figures a year all worshipping together.  I imagine that is what heaven will look like when we get there.

God has brought together a group of imperfect people (this pastor included) and those in need of hope.  I’m glad we serve the God of second chances.

2012 has been a challenging year.  We’ve seen people we love decide that this isn’t the church for them… and I have had to personally tell a few that this wasn’t the church for them. 

Yet at the same time, God has sent us some remarkable new people.  Over the course of 2012 the right people with the right skills have arrived at exactly the right time.  These are people who have taken us to another level.  Just a causal observation in our Sunday services tells part of the story.

But that’s not all there is to the story.  Behind the scenes a lot of other good things are taking place; particularly leadership development.  It’s been on-going for a while and 2013 should see these people deployed.

Regarding our finances, 2012 was a bit challenging the first six/seven months.  However, in late summer we began experiencing a rebound, mostly a result of eliminating expenses.  We are going to finish the year strong.  Very glad about that.

There have been times when we have held this church together with chicken wire and duct tape.  But God always comes through.  All we have to do is stay faithful, maintain our integrity, and stay on mission – and the rest is up to God.  We’ve always done that and He always, always, always comes through.

We’ve even had people oppose us.  Yet, it has all been worth it.

In closing, let me say THANK YOU PCC’ers.  Thank you for all you do.  You make the ministry of our church happen.  It’s been an amazing year – it’s been an amazing fifteen year run for me – and I’m confident that 2013 will be even better.  Among other things, you will hear new teachers and new preachers.

May we never forget why we started PCC in the first place.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

10 Tips for Teaching Students

December 12, 2012
Good things are happening among the teenagers of PCC.  Parents are stepping forward to serve, students are active and excited, a few absentee students have returned, and a new teaching team (of highly capable adults) is being formed!  To everyone involved, here are a few tips I’d like to offer when teaching and leading teens:

1.  START STRONG.  You have to get their attention the moment you step up to teach if you want to keep their attention.  Start with high energy, a big question, or a big concept.  Remember, you’re about to tell them what God has said – so start strong and nail your theme in your opening comments.

2.  TEACH ONE CONCEPT.  Students are not stupid.  They can learn more than is expected of them.  Don’t dumb it down, just focus your one concept with laser intensity.  Give them one big idea – sin, Scripture, the Cross, Jesus’ divinity, the resurrection – something to focus the entire message around.

3.  ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS.  Make the lesson interactive by calling on kids.  Ask questions throughout the message to keep students engaged to see what they are thinking.  The purpose of asking question is not merely to get a right answer, but to ascertain their level of understanding.  Throw out a candy bar to the kids who give good answers, which keeps it fun and light.  When students ask a question, let other students try to answer it.  If they don’t get it right, then you can answer it.  The point is to get students thinking and talking about faith and content of the Bible.

4.  BE ENTHUSIASTIC YOURSELF TO KEEP THE ROOM ALIVE.  Students don’t just believe what you teach.  They get excited about the things you get excited about.  If God’s Word does not light your fire, it’s not going to light theirs either.

5.  MAKE IT FUN.  Have a sense of humor when appropriate.  Get students up front leading worship or sharing their testimony.  Plan activities that will help the kids to develop relationships with each other and adult mentors.  Use interesting props or anything else that might keep it fun yet still reverent toward God.

6.  ALLOW TIME FOR Q&A.  After you teach, open it up for a focused Q&A session to gauge where the kids actually are.  Students have questions, so invite them to ask.  For students who may be shy or have a private question, invite them to find you or another leader after the teaching time.  Be around and available following the lesson in order to talk with students and answer their questions.

7.  CONNECT EVERYTHING TO JESUS.  The whole Bible is about Jesus.  Say the Name of Jesus.  Point to Jesus.  Honor Jesus.  And focus on Jesus.

8.  GIVE AWAY NICE BIBLES.  Many students, even those from Christian homes, don’t have a decent Bible.  They often have one of those cheap, paperback types with font so small that it requires a magnifying glass to read it.  Or it’s one of those cheapies that have kiddy pictures in it.  On the other hand, a good Bible can change a student’s life.  They might consider it such a great gift that they take it seriously and start reading it.  I would recommend a leather (or at least bonded leather) NIV Study Bible or ESV Study Bible.  Spending money on a quality Bible for students who show an interest in spiritual matters or the potential for spiritual growth is a much better investment than chips and soda pop for the masses.  Remember, discipleship is always the goal.

9.  TAKE A PARENTAL TONE.  Pray for students all week.  Ask God to keep giving you the Father’s heart for the students so that when you get up to teach they see in you a parental role, loving and leading them.  The NT is filled with the language of spiritual adoption while using family terms to describe the relationships we have with one another.  God might be calling you to be a spiritual father or mother to some of these students, so see yourself in that kind of role.

10.  AND ABOVE ALL, ENCOURAGE & INSIST THAT STUDENTS BE IN THE ADULT SERVICE ON SUNDAY, WHICH IS THE “LORDS DAY.”  Students should be attending Sunday services for corporate worship just like anyone else.  Sunday is the “Lord’s Day” and we are commanded to gather for corporate worship on that day.  They are not “little people” who need to be segregated from adults and entertained with cake-and-ice-cream parties. They are young adults who should be integrated with older adults so that they will start acting like adults.  After all, if they can attend school for 8 hours a day learning subjects like algebra, chemistry, history, science, and literature, they are old enough to learn, worship, and comprehend what’s taking place in the adult service.  Besides, by integrating them into the adult service as part of their discipleship training, they will more likely to stay in church after they graduate from high school.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Closer Look at PCC and it LOOKS GOOD!

I’ve just got to say how thankful I am at the way God is using the ministry of PCC. So many things are going just right… and so many lives are being changed that it has to be a God thing.

Every Sunday God is sending new people to our church - people who are desperate for help, for healing, for salvation, and for deeper understanding. God sends them to our church because HE KNOWS they will receive help here. For this I feel privileged.

I still attend a small group during the week; I’ve been a part of this group for years.  Beyond that, I am very pleased at the number of other groups (most that have been formed organically, rather than organizationally), in our church.  It is very encouraging to see the depth of fellowship and bonding taking place among the members; not to mention the depth of Biblical discussion.

There is so much growth in our church right now that I’m having to learn a whole new set of pastoral skills. Most unsettling to me is having to learn how to pastor people whose name I will probably never know. I’m a people-person and like to know everyone by name. God is stretching me here.

PCC is a Staff-Led Church which means we have a combination of paid and unpaid staff who lead the church, run its ministries and administration, as well as providing oversight.  Those who have the highest levels of responsibility to manage God's House meet the requirements of 1st Timothy 3 and Titus 1.  However, all our staff are exceptional people and appropriately deployed.  I don’t know what we would do without them.  No matter the “title” one has, these are the people who make PCC happen.  It takes a lot of personnel to pull off our weekly responsibilities and all our workers are first-class.

Morale is very, very high at PCC right now.  If you want to get involved in a move of God (of making disciples, seeing life-change, and advancing the kingdom of God), I encourage you to go ALL IN.  There’s room for you if you desire it. 

We have experienced “the day of small beginnings,” growth, conflict, purging, and pruning. Now we are in a season of renewed growth. The people who are with us right now have truly been “sent of God” and will take us to the next level. I cannot tell you how happy I am.

Have I mentioned that we have an amazing church? Better yet, we serve an awesome God!

Our music is exceptional each week. Probably some of the best in the area. But that’s not the point. The point is - does it help me connect with God?  Is it God-honoring and Christ-exalting?  The answer is a resounding YES. I feel like shouting each week, “OMG!”

Not only that, we are very deliberate about platforming young people.  This has always been an emphasis of ours – you’ve seen it over the years at PCC – and it’s happening now.  We are about to have a breakthrough.  Just watch and see.

Every Sunday we have cards turned in with prayer requests. I am silenced by what I read. People are hurting. They are reaching out. They are hoping, trusting, that this church can help them find their way to God. It makes me tremble. I don’t want to mess up and cause the faith of any person to fail by doing something, or saying something that is insensitive or dumb. “God, put a guard on my lips.”

We also have marvelous testimonies turned in each week. This is what I look forward to the most.

I am glad that we get to have a small part in what God is doing.

Next year – 2013 – is going to be our best year ever!  New leaders, new preachers, new talent, new ministries, new groups, – it’s all about to happen.

Stayed tuned to this blog to keep informed.